5 crucial observations from Sam Darnold’s performance at the Falcons

Dean Jones
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s improvements pre-snap

One of the many criticisms regarding Sam Darnold has been a lack of control at the line of scrimmage. Some clock management issues and recognizing defensive schemes have played a leading role in the quarterback’s regression, but there were some notable improvements in this area of his game in Week 8.

Darnold got the snaps off quickly throughout the contest. There seemed to be much better communication between the signal-caller, offensive coordinator Joe Brady, and center Matt Paradis, which is a solid recipe for success if things continue in this fashion over the second half of the campaign.

The USC product is never going to be like Peyton Manning. Even though it is a vital element and can make Darnold’s life a lot easier if he gets things right consistently.

It did help that the Carolina Panthers relied heavily on the run, which was something Matt Rhule clearly wanted to do. However, Darnold also deserves his fair share of credit for doing his part at the line, checking the protection or pre-snap play call when required, and keeping the opposing defense on their toes.

After the last few weeks, any progress where Darnold is concerned was welcome. Controlling the tempo before the play officially begins was encouraging.